Quite simple to start off this review; I think it’s brilliant. As both a film nerd and a science fiction nerd, this film pleases me on a number of levels.
If you liked the previous film, released in 2009, then this film will not disappoint. The story sees the crew of the enterprise embarking on a mission to track down the man who infiltrated and attacked Starfleet. It sounds simple but it’s been written very well so it is a film that you have to keep up with. I think the writers of the film did a very good job with the story and indeed the screenplay. The screenplay for me was particularly good because it had a strong balance of intelligence and this rather absurd humour where quite a simple remark from a character you love will leave you in fits of laughter. The writers of it clearly understand the classic characters from the original television series but then equally they know the twist that has been brought about by the recent film, so it’s just a relief to see they’ve handled it so well.
The acting is just top notch, the crew of the Enterprise is just fantastic. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto work very well as Kirk and Spock, with this odd chemistry of brains versus instinct both clashing and yet accompanying each other at the same time. I have to say Quinto has grown on me, I love how emotionless he really is in the film, however you do get to see a darker side to him at times in the film. Karl Urban is still brilliant as Bones, rather grumpy and not afraid to voice his opinion (quite easy to relate to for me), as well as John Cho, Zoe Saldana and Anton Yelchin still doing a terrific job.
For me the best of the enterprise was Simon Pegg as Scotty, he is absolutely brilliant. His accent is near perfect, his emotions are very energetic and powerful, and his delivery of lines is so smooth. I really liked the fact he had more of a main role in the film as it showed just what he is capable of. However the star of the film (pardon the pun) is Benedict Cumberbatch as the main villain: Khan. I have never been so terrified of that man in all of my life, he is phenomenal as a villian. His raw anger matched with this rather chilling personality worked very well and he gave one hell of a performance. He was strong both intellectually and physically and there are times he had me genuinely terrified so he was definitely a man who shouldn’t be messed with. As far as I’m aware the cast sparked numerous amounts of nerdgasms nationwide.
The special effects for the film were incredible, and if you found the lens flares a problem then you clearly weren’t engaged enough in the film. I think J J Abrams did a terrific job directing, handling a strong cast very well but also in the action sequences. What impressed me about both this film and the previous film is the action and chase sequences, they’re very gritty and are paced well enough so you can see every detail of what happens. Abrams is clearly someone who is passionate about film and sci fi and it is easy to see that in his work because of the attention to detail he has.
There were some quite interesting themes present which I really liked about this film. There is quite a strong underlying message about terrorism and the option to intervene, so there is a depth to the film that really links well to our modern world and various social factors. I also rather liked the themes linked to ‘brain versus instinct’ because it really gets you thinking about how you handle tough situations and dilemmas based on overbearing thoughts of the consequences. There is also quite a lot to do with revenge and people paying for their actions, which goes for both the heroes and the villain of the film because you can see pros and cons on both sides. Your moral compass is tested while watching this film so keep your wits about you. The message from the original Star Trek series of racial and gender equality is still present, despite the shot of Alice Eve in her underwear that sparked off numerous debates. I don’t approve of the use of the shot and it was a slip up that Abrams has apologised quite rightly for.
Overall I would give the film three and a half stars but it is ever so close to four stars and just sits on the border. It wasn’t perfect but it was a big, bold and unashamed science fiction film that ticked the boxes of what makes a good sci fi film so it pleased me as a film and sci fi nerd. It’s fast paced but there is some interesting dialogue in there too. Possibly if it was slowed down a bit the cracks may begin to form and it might give the audiences heads a rest quickly, but it’s not a major problem. I like that it was a big sci fi romp because it pleased fans massively without losing it’s nerve in the climate of modern cinema audiences. I would recommend this to anybody who is a fan of either star trek or science fiction. And to anybody who hasn’t watched this or the first Star Trek film from 2009, I heavily recommend both of them.